The original X5 featured a relatively compact size and chassis based on the BMW 5 Series sports sedan, giving the X5 a road-hugging dynamic while maintaining its crossover height. It's no wonder that this vehicle, which was one of the first luxury sport crossovers, became a favorite when it first came off the line. And it still remains that way in today's specification.

More on the BMW X5
About the BMW X5The BMW X5 puts the "sport" into sport utility. In fact, the X5 was such a departure from most anything on the road at the time that BMW coined its own term: sport activity vehicle. As most owners never take their vehicles off-road, especially those running in the luxury end of the spectrum, BMW built the X5 for on-pavement driving dynamics and handling.

As a front-running luxury crossover, the X5 offers all the modern bells and whistles. BMW keeps working to enhance their iDrive interface, and it pays off in easier control over the X5's features.

It's also got BMW styling nailed inside and out. With an interior that lives up to high-end standards, the X5 offers quality materials and attention to detail plus upgrades including panoramic moon roof, heated leather seats, rear entertainment system, and real wood trim. The exterior presents an athletic figure that's unmistakably BMW, and it looks lean despite its size.

BMW X5 Features

The 2012 BMW X5 was refreshed, which the vehicle now offers formerly optional features, such as the navigation system in the V-8-powered X5 xDrive50i as standard.

Despite that, not much has changed in the 2012 BMW X5. Generous features include a choice of powerful engines, a refined interior, and solid on-road credentials. Engine options include 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, the powerful twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, the torquey diesel, and the 555-horsepower behemoth that powers the X5 M.

The X5 is also one of the Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition to the array of airbags in the front, side and head areas, the X5 comes equipped with antilock brakes that lightly compress automatically to dry the discs automatically in wet weather.

Considering what the X5 offers, it's no surprise that this luxury crossover has a price tag to match. Downsides include an optional third-row bench seat only suitable for kids and a ride that some consider too stiff over the road. Fuel economy isn't great either, but the X5 isn't really for fuel-conscience consumers.

BMW X5 Evolution

The 2011 BMW X5 arrived with the company's turbocharged engines, updated styling and more streamlined trim levels. The 2009 model year marked the entry of a new twin-turbo diesel engine, along with changes to the X5s options and standard equipment.

The 2008 X5, however, was still setting standards for handling and performance, but many felt the ride was too hard and iDrive wasn't worth its price. In 2007, BMW redesigned the X5 to its current generation, taking note of the first generation's shortcomings. The X5 got a significant boost to rear legroom and overall utility with a full seven-inch extension. The new X5 also offered the option of third-row seating, albeit accommodating for kids only, for the first time, thereby broadening the vehicle's appeal to the family-minded driver.

While the 2006 BMW X5 continued to enhance its offerings, it forwent many updates BMW was giving its other vehicles in anticipation of the all-new 2007 model. The 2005 BMW X5 began offering Bluetooth kits direct from the factory with its Premium Package, along with Xenon headlamps as standard equipment in the 4.4i and 4.8is models.

The X5 was refreshed with a more aggressive look, featuring enlarged grills to go with its new leaner, more efficient electronic xDrive all-wheel drive system.

Based roughly on the 1997-2002 "E39" 5 Series, the BMW X5 first made its way to market in 2000, a result of BMW's takeover of British automaker Rover, which was the manufacturer of Land Rover and Range Rover. BMW engineers incorporated much of the Range Rover technology and parts into the X5 as well as borrowing from the BMW 5-Series. The BMW X5 remained on-road oriented, whereas the Range Rover was designed to tackle more off-road duties.

The first X5 featured all-new full-time all-wheeled drive technology, fully demonstrating the X5s design for excellence on the road, with ability to do light off-road duty also available. It also offered a 282-horsepower 4.4-liter V-8, working in conjunction with a five-speed automatic gearbox. The vehicle boasted luxuries that included self-leveling suspension, side and curtain airbags, leather upholstery, and a large selection of electronic driver aids.

The X5 is a sporting road car, so much so that BMW coined the term "Sport Activity Vehicle," or SAV, to differentiate it from the rest of the SUV market.

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